Open A Game Afoot

A sleepless Otani's hunt for Totems

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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A Game Afoot

Postby Onaona on July 29th, 2020, 2:22 am

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Onaona tread water, listening to Robert in silence as he spoke. His words rattled loosely around the cavern, bouncing across the stone walls and skating across the surface of the water, giving it a depth of sound he would be hard pressed to achieve in the open. It was a beautiful effect, and it was with effort that the Otani listened to the meaning rather than the sound of his words.

She tried to understand, she really did. But she could feel that she was missing some enormous, intrinsically human concept, and without it she could feel his explanation being thrown into this hole in her perception and disappearing. Her facial features slowly morphed, taking on his northern features, his narrowed eyes. Her brow pulled thoughtfully down over her new eyes, mirroring his, before her face would rearrange back to her old features. She noted the way the words seemed to catch on his lips, and how his tone turned revenant as he spoke of Lhavit. She tried to imagine what he described of his home in such in loving detail, and imagined she loved it too. She reached inside herself and tried to feel what he was feeling, how it must feel to leave behind everything you loved for some great unknown. A mingling of grief and love with a powerful stab of hope.

But nothing came to her. She played with the idea, twisting and moving it to try and fit it around her perception of the world, but it never quite fit. What was she missing? Robert, and by extension humanity, had never felt so far out of her reach.

"I don't understand", she admitted, her voice tight and anxious. "What does any of that mean? Why do you feel this way?" With a splash she pulled herself from the water and climbed up beside him, as if peering closer into his face would help her make sense of this baffling creature. "Why does it feel like you have one eye over your shoulder, always looking behind you? Why do these memories mean so much to you, when they've already been experienced? Don't love your mountain anymore, love the present! Love Syka, love the sea! You'll be able to see the ocean from every city, you'll never be homesick again!" she grappled desperately for a solution for his melancholy and homesickness, not having a clear idea of what it was, or even that he might not even want it to be cured. What should she do? How could she uproot a human so sentimental about the past?

"The sea is constant yet always changing. You can live in the past and the present at the same time. Isn't that better? You can have both! Please forget Lhavit. It doesn't deserve whatever part of you you left behind there."

He explained it like it was a physical thing, like he left something behind in Lhavit so he had enough room in his soul to take a piece of the city with him. Was that what it meant to have a home? This exchange of souls? To exist forever in this place and in return have it exist in you? She yearned to reach inside and pull it out. Maybe then she could pour seawater in the wound it left behind.

"I know", she brightened as a thought slipped in through the chaos Robert had riled in her mind. "Why don't you love me instead? Not everything has to pass. I'll never age, I'll never die, I will live forever by the grace of god. You won't have to feel that sorrow, because I will never fade. Do you see? Please. Make this your only home. Love me first, then you will learn to love the ocean."

Giving him no time to react, Onaona leaned forward and kissed him.

The desperate act was surprisingly underwhelming for both parties. He was warm and solid and tasted like cocktails and something so alarmingly human. Yet having witnessed the act before but never preformed it, the Otani didn't realize there was more to it than the feel and the taste. She put no wanting behind it, no love, just curiosity. It was chaste and perfunctory, a question rather than a statement. Her lips were still and cold, salted with seawater and distracted by the many wheeling thoughts the human had put in her head.
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A Game Afoot

Postby Robert Glenfeidh on August 30th, 2020, 4:08 pm

Robert glanced again and again at Onaona, his eyes darting from the liquid light to her ever-shifting form as he tried to put into words that which escaped him, a nascent collection of wayward stars that even Zintila herself could not order.

As he caught his facial features in her face, he wondered if a being such as her could become him, if she were a mirror he could touch and exchange himself with her self. A duality; the man and the monster, an age-old entity that sought to understand that which she had witnessed time and time again.

"I can't!" He clenched his fists as Ona raised her voice, striking the tensed strings within with a hammer born of emotion. "To not love - is that not a beast? I love, I hurt, I live - all I am is my past, and to move past Lhavit - the hills - the mountains —" Anastasia, wakened by the row, purred anxiously and rubbed herself against Robert, trying to sooth his choler.

"Ona, all these are beautiful to me, and I will keep them in a corner of my heart. That I have experienced them - I am my past, and I will shape my future by my own hands. I will love the new, but shun the old? I can't!" He un-clenched his hands by sheer force of will, but they shook as he fought to rein in the emotions Onaona had encouraged. "Bitterness and sweetness - all men learn to savour both in equal measure."

"That they change - that they fade - I love them more for these things. I don't think of them at all when I stoke the fires, or test new drink, or carry and split lumber for hours on end. Why should I? Time is well spent only on the present, or building for the future - but in idle moments —" Robert pointed to the moonlight dappling the swirling waters, "with a glass in the moonlight, a lute playing in the distance, I drown myself in memories."

"The old philosophers in Lhavit might call me a seeker of pleasures, but Onaona," he half-pleaded, half-questioned, "have you never looked back on what you did or saw, have you not tried to reminisce, or feel again the joys or pleasures long gone?"

"I —"

And she kissed him.

He felt her; flowing, cooling, dizzying.

An instant, and he instinctively drew her closer towards him with his arms, feeling the strange water-not-water curl over his skin and retreat as he deepened the contact; the heat of the moment spurred him on as he tried to place all that he felt, all the frustration at not getting across to her, and the sheer emotion he held in the deep places of his heart.

The Lhavitian withdrew almost as swiftly, leaning back and placing his arms to arrest his fall, and stared into Onaona's eyes, watching the currents. He licked his lips sub-consciously, tasting her — sea salt and moonlit waters — in a daze.

"Love..."

He spent a lingering instant considering her words, before moving to a more upright position, closer to her.

"If there's any kind of magic that has to exist, it must be this." He tapped his chest, over the heart, before pointing at where her heart would have been, if she were a human.

"The attempt of understanding someone sharing something. Just... this little space in between." Robert let his arm drop to his side, curling his fingers in Anastasia's fur.

"Love is... an eternity of trying to do that, and succeeding and failing over and over again. Not that simple, to love you in a blink of an eye. Love needs a connection, and sustained effort in strengthening and repairing it whenever it frays. It's... selfish and selfless — you want her for you and you alone, you give her your all — a contradiction that evades all but the vaguest of explanations."

OOC note :
Real sorry for disappearing, life got in the way. And sorry if this post seems disorganized, 'cause it is - Onaona put me in mind of a few ideas that needed to make themselves known.
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